Bill C-9 (Historical)
Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec Act
An Act to establish the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec
This bill was last introduced in the 38th Parliament, 1st Session, which ended in November 2005.
Jacques Saada Liberal
This bill has received Royal Assent and is now law.
Income Tax Act
Private Members' Business
March 25th, 2010 / 6:05 p.m.
Massimo Pacetti Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, QC
—a downturn in the Fort McMurray area, the MP for Fort McMurray would be more than happy that we went ahead and passed this bill into law.
The Liberal Party believes that the federal government can significantly impact regional economic development. That is why in 2005 the Liberal government at the time invested over $800 million over five years in regional development agencies across the country.
What is interesting is that the Bloc Québécois was the only party that voted against Bill C-9 in 2005, which aimed to create the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec.
The Parliamentary Budget Officer, Mr. Kevin Page, has testified before the finance committee and assured us that the Canada Revenue Agency has the capability to implement these changes and administer them quite easily. The bill does not actually do much to promote significant job growth in the regions, but it is a beginning. So we should not lose sight of the fact that it could help to stop the bleeding in regions where jobs are available but are not being filled because of the regional geographic disadvantage.
Given that this government has no real strategy to promote the economic growth of the regions, this bill is a good option.
I believe that all members of this House should support it. Personally, I will support it.
Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Region of Northern Ontario Act
Private Members' Business
May 14th, 2009 / 5:55 p.m.
Jean-Yves Roy Haute-Gaspésie—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia, QC
Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by saying that the Bloc Québécois will support Bill C-309, An Act establishing the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Region of Northern Ontario, which was introduced by my colleague from Nipissing—Timiskaming. It is not that we support federal government interference in regional development, but if the people of northern Ontario and the Government of Ontario want to create an agency, the Bloc Québécois would obviously be ill advised to oppose it.
The purpose of Bill C-309 is to establish the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Region of Northern Ontario, which, like the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, would be responsible for promoting the development of northern Ontario in accordance with an integrated federal strategy.
The Bloc Québécois defends Quebec's interests, and that is why in the past we voted against Bill C-9, which created the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec. Members will say that we are being inconsistent. We voted against creating an agency in Quebec, yet we support creating an agency in Ontario. I have no problem with that, because if the people in northern Ontario want to create such an agency, then naturally we will support them.
The Bloc Québécois believes, as all the governments of Quebec have believed for more than 45 years, that in order to be able to develop an integrated policy on regional development, Quebec must have control over regional development programs. I will explain this further during my speech.
As my colleague has just said, the regions are the ones with the solutions. Quebec in particular has organizations that focus on the socio-economic development of their regions. These organizations are in a position to properly advise the minister on regional needs and to help with program implementation. The local development centres were created specifically to develop the regional economy and to advise ministers in order to ensure that the investments made would be as cost effective as possible for regional development. Over the years, we have also created another kind of organization, the regional conferences of elected officials, which bring together all mayors and other elected officials in each of the regions. Obviously, they examine every file relating to regional development and they, too, are well placed to provide the minister responsible with proper advice.
The Bloc Québécois is aware that not all governments have the same priorities. Despite the fact that the agency is joyfully trampling on Quebec's toes in its jurisdiction, if the Government of Ontario has decided to welcome this structure into its regional economy, we cannot do otherwise than agree, as I said. It must be pointed out as well that Ontario has been hit very hard by the economic crisis, northern Ontario even more so because of the forestry crisis and the decline of the auto industry.
I would like to make the point that a true regional development strategy needs to include a broad range of components: natural resources, education, training, municipal affairs, land use, infrastructure and so on, none of which are in any way federal responsibilities. In fact, the Canadian Constitution entrusts most things that concern regional development to Quebec and the provinces.
In order to be in a position to create an integrated regional development policy, all of the governments of Quebec in the past 45-plus years have been demanding control of the regional development program.
Between 1973 and 1994, an agreement was in place between the Government of Quebec and the government in Ottawa. According to it, Ottawa could not invest in regional development without the agreement of the Government of Quebec. In 1994, that agreement was broken. Since that time, there have been two parallel structures in Quebec, those of the Government of Quebec and those of the federal government, which both invest in regional development.
Very often the two are in conflict with each other, because the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec sets priorities for itself that are not shared by Quebec or the regions of Quebec. This clash of regional development systems is a very common occurrence.
Another phenomenon has also cropped up since the Conservatives have been in power.
As my colleague mentioned, the government made deep cuts to the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec's budget. Those cuts were significant.
Since 1994, the agency has been investing in research and development organizations responsible for supporting businesses. I could list all kinds of organizations in every region of Quebec that were responsible for helping small and medium-sized businesses conduct research and development and bring their ideas to market.
Small and medium-sized businesses do not necessarily have the financial means to do research and create and launch new products. That is why the agency invested in those kinds of organizations. Then, suddenly, two years ago in 2007, the agency withdrew its support. That is the problem with having two parallel regional development systems. The Canadian agency withdrew, and now a lot of those organizations are in trouble. Basically, the entire structure that the Government of Quebec and the regions of Quebec built over the years has been demolished.
I can provide actual examples of that in my region. Among other things, the forest research centre, which was supported by the Canadian agency, was unexpectedly told that it would have to begin turning a profit within about two years. That was utterly impossible. That kind of development will no longer be happening. The federal government must understand that regional development cannot happen without taking into account each region's priorities and those of the Government of Quebec.
Earlier, my colleague from Abitibi—Témiscamingue was talking about the Minister of Industry. I should point out that the Minister of Industry was responsible for the agency, and he is the one who cut funding to several organizations in Quebec. The new minister tried to restore funding, but I do not think that he tried hard enough, because instead of restoring the funding, organizations were simply given an extra year within which to become profitable. It is no secret that most research and development organizations will never be profitable because they do research and development to bring products to market. It takes years and years to turn a profit, and that is not what these organizations are meant to do. Their role is to support businesses, not replace them. That is where the government made its mistake.
Earlier, my colleague said that the Minister of Industry was very busy because there are files piled up on his desk. I would say to him that is probably the same tactic he used at the Economic Development Agency of Canada because everything ended up on his desk. Files would languish and he was accused—I believe rightly—of engaging in petty politics, cheap politics, by using the funds of the Economic Development Agency of Canada. In my opinion, the same thing is currently happening at Industry Canada. It is the same minister.
Let us be serious. He probably used the same tactics and is probably continuing to use the same approach. That means files were not dealt with, files are languishing and will continue to do so because he has to look at all of them, one by one, and he does not trust anyone, especially not the directors of agencies in Quebec and probably not Industry department officials.
I am being told that I have one minute left. Therefore I will repeat that the Bloc Québécois will support the creation of a development agency for northern Ontario because that is the decision of the people who live there and of the Ontario government, and that is important to us. Therefore, if those people want it, as a political party that respects all regions, I believe that we must vote for Bill C-309.
Private Member's Bill C-309
Points of Order
May 14th, 2009 / 3:10 p.m.
Tom Lukiwski Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons
Mr. Speaker, on February 25, 2009, you made a statement with respect to the management of private members' business. In particular, you raised concerns about five bills which, in your view, “appear to impinge on the financial prerogative of the Crown”.
One of the bills you mentioned was Bill C-309, An Act establishing the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Region of Northern Ontario. I would note that in the last Parliament, the member for Nipissing—Timiskaming brought forward the same bill as Bill C-499, which the Speaker on June 10, 2008, noted appeared “to impinge on the financial prerogative of the Crown”.
Without commenting on the merits of the bill, I submit that the bill must be accompanied by a royal recommendation because it would require new spending. Bill C-309 would create a new agency of government and provide for the appointment of personnel. Clause 8 of Bill C-309 establishes the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Region of Northern Ontario as a separate and distinct agency of the Government of Canada.
The requirement of a royal recommendation for organizational changes such as establishing a new agency is referred to in the Speaker's ruling of July 11, 1988, on two motions to amend Bill C-93, An Act for the preservation and enhancement of multiculturalism in Canada. The Speaker said that to establish a separate department of government “undoubtedly would cause a significant charge upon the federal treasury in order for the new department to function on a daily basis”.
When an almost identical bill was introduced in the first session of the 38th Parliament as Bill C-9, An Act to establish the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, it was accompanied by a royal recommendation.
The second reason Bill C-309 would require a royal recommendation is that it provides for the appointment of personnel. There are numerous precedents indicating that appointments must be accompanied by a royal recommendation. For example, on February 25, 2005, the Acting Speaker ruled that Bill C-280, An Act to amend the Employment Insurance Act (Employment Insurance Account and premium rate setting) and another Act in consequence required a royal recommendation because it provided for the appointment of 13 new commissioners to the Canada Employment Insurance Commission. The parent act specified that all commissioners were to receive remuneration.
Clauses 4 and 9 of Bill C-309 provide for the establishment of advisory committees in the appointment of a president of the agency, positions that do not currently exist. Furthermore, the clauses explicitly state that the remuneration of the appointees shall be fixed by the Governor in Council. Provisions for salaries to be paid out of the consolidated revenue fund clearly impose a charge on the public treasury. I submit that clauses 4 and 9 would therefore require a royal recommendation.
Clause 13 of Bill C-309 would also require the appointment of personnel, in this case, the officers and employees necessary for the proper conduct of the new agency. Although clause 13 does not specifically provide for the remuneration of these employees, the Speaker ruled on February 11, 2008 with respect to Bill C-474, the Federal Sustainable Development Act:
Section 23 of the Interpretation Act makes it clear that the power to appoint includes the power to pay. As the provision in Bill C-474 is such that the governor in council could choose to pay a salary to these representatives, this involves an appropriation of a part of the public revenue and should be accompanied by a royal recommendation.
These precedents apply to Bill C-309. The bill would create new spending and therefore requires a royal recommendation.
March 28th, 2007 / 4:35 p.m.
Roger Tassé Legal Counsel, Gowling, Lafleur and Henderson, As an Individual
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Good morning, gentlemen, madam.
Thank you for the invitation to appear before your committee to answer your questions.
This review began in May 2006 at the request of the Minister of Transport. There were concerns about whether the Toronto Port Authority had well managed its responsibilities. There were allegations in the press and elsewhere about actions that the authority had taken with respect to the fixed link, which eventually was approved and eventually was cancelled, and the settlement that occurred thereafter.
The purpose of my review was to do just that: review the decision regarding these matters. The minister wanted to be satisfied that the principles of good governance had been upheld.
My mandate, which you will find as attachment 2 of my report, sets out specifically the questions that I had to look into in the context of a very important agreement that was entered into in 1983 between the federal government and the then Toronto harbour commissioners and the City of Toronto.
I had the assistance, for the purpose of my review, of Jeffrey Smith, who was retained by the Department of Transport. Jeffrey Smith is a member of the BDO Dunworthy firm of forensic accountants. You have a summary of his findings attached to my report.
For the review, I had the assistance and cooperation of quite a number of people: the City of Toronto, the staff of the city, members of the Toronto Port Authority or TPA, the Department of Transport in Toronto and at an office here in Ottawa, and the Department of Justice lawyers who had been involved in the various events under review.
I received great collaboration from all the people I talked to. I have looked at hundreds and hundreds of documents, if not more. I met with anyone who wanted to talk to me about the TPA and their management, the decisions that had been made, the concerns they had. I received a lot of e-mails and had a lot of meetings, including meetings with representatives from the community associations on the Toronto waterfront. You have a list of the members.
Now for my findings.
In summary, I've come to the conclusion that the Toronto Port Authority had complied with due diligence requirements in all respects on the matters that concerned the proposed construction of the bridge, the purchase of the new ferry, and the commercial arrangements that were entered into as part of the settlement agreement. This is discussed on page 3 of my report.
The overall settlement after the cancellation occurred, as you will well know, cost $35 million, and there were a lot of questions relating to that amount. People were saying, why would it cost $35 million to settle claims? We don't have a bridge, and the bridge itself would have cost $14 million. So there were a lot of questions.
And people were concerned that one of the difficulties, perhaps, was that in effect there was not much information that could be made public and was made public at the time regarding the process of negotiations.
But I've come to the conclusion, and I will say more if required later, that the amount of $35 million was reasonable, that the principles of good governance here again had been respected not only in reaching the global settlement but also in the way the $35 million was allocated to each of the parties who were involved and who had been damaged by the cancellation of the bridge.
I looked at the Aecon contract. Aecon was the builder who had been retained, after a process of tenders, by the authority to construct the bridge. There had been allegations that in effect the construction contract had been purposely and inappropriately accelerated to ensure that the bridge could not be stopped by a new municipal administration. I deal with that in my report very carefully, at pages 64 and 68.
My conclusion, after having looked at all the circumstances, talking to people, and having looked at the documents that were available, is that such allegations were grossly exaggerated, and I have set out the reasons on page 66 for my coming to that conclusion.
There were also many questions about the environmental assessments that had to be performed before the contract could be let. There were assessments in 1999, in 2003 regarding the bridge itself, and in 2006 regarding the ferry, after the bridge had been cancelled. I reviewed in detail the various stages of the environmental processes, from the beginning to the end. You will find that on seven pages, on page 68 and following. Again, my conclusion was that principles of good governance have been complied with.
It was not easy. Every step had plenty of difficulties, but my conclusion is that the TPA itself managed the issues well, and the processes as well.
There was a question as well that had been specifically raised by many, and that was part of my mandate. There were questions about how it was that the Toronto port had come to be governed by the Canada Marine Act. I have read fascinating debates in the House of Commons and in the Senate. This is related at page 90.
In effect, there were two administrations involved. They were two Liberal administrations, but there was an election between. First, Bill C-44 was introduced; there was a lot of debate about it. And there was another, Bill C-9, which followed the election of the Liberal government.
Again, if you're interested, I can tell you more about that. I've learned a lot about Toronto and about the Senate committee and the House of Commons committee debates on these matters. I found them fascinating.
But my conclusion was that Parliament had decided that the Toronto Port Authority qualified as a national port and that it should be on the list. Parliament itself—you people—had decided that it should be on the list. It was not a function or a responsibility that had been left to a minister afterwards.
There were provisions for the minister later to look at applications that other ports in Canada might make, and there were some criteria. These criteria were before the House when the list was devised and when steps were taken and amendments were made to get the Port of Toronto and the Port of Hamilton on the list. I didn't find anything wrong with that.
Although the department itself initially had proposed and the minister had agreed that Toronto should not be on the list, eventually—I guess there were caucus meetings and members' meetings—the decision was made, and there was an all-party agreement that the Toronto Port Authority should be on the list.
That's enough of that.
Financial Statement of Minister of Finance
March 27th, 2007 / 3:25 p.m.
Bryon Wilfert Richmond Hill, ON
Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Pierrefonds—Dollard.
It has been just over a week since the Conservative government delivered its second budget in 14 months, and unfortunately, but not surprisingly, it fails on the test of foreign policy. In addressing foreign policy needs, the government is basically silent.
Although the government claims that it has delivered something for everyone, it really has not dealt with the area of foreign policy. It should not be a surprise, because foreign policy is amateur hour when it comes to the Conservatives. They do not really have a focus on foreign policy. Other than the United States and Afghanistan, they think they can do without the rest of the world. Unfortunately this is very true when it comes to the budget.
I would point out that Nancy Hughes Anthony, the president of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce made the comment:
The government promised in November that they were going to make Canada more competitive and control spending and I think they broke that promise today.
It certainly did on being more competitive. I will get into that when it comes to a number of issues around the world where the government has failed.
The present government likes to talk about the previous Liberal government, so let us talk about the previous Liberal government. In 2005 we put forth the CANtrade strategy which provided $485 million over five years to help Canadian business succeed in emerging markets. The Conservatives scrapped this initiative and have now replaced it with $60 million over the next two years.
The Conservatives also cut $970 million from indirect costs of research programs which cuts assistance to Canadian universities. How are we going to be competitive abroad when this kind of narrow action is taken?
The budget says that the government is going to double international assistance by 2010-11. The Conservatives talk about their commitment of an additional $200 million for reconstruction in Afghanistan, $115 million initially, and $230 million to the issues of advanced markets, but the Liberal government in 2005 provided an increase of $3.4 billion over five years for international assistance, and committed to double official development assistance to over $5 billion by 2010.
The previous Liberal government understood the international community. It was out there. It was clear that it worked hand in glove with the international community and certainly with Canadian business and Canadian universities. Unfortunately, the Conservative government's view of the world is very different.
The government has changed the whole approach and structure on Afghanistan, and its mission is exclusively, it seems, military. We do not see the accountability factors when it comes to development assistance. We are providing more financial dollars to Afghanistan, yet it is not in the top 25 of CIDA recipients. We see that it is spending 10 times more money on the military than on humanitarian assistance in the Afghan theatre, and $200 million for Afghanistan in this budget is not new money. The Conservatives are very good at recycling money, but again it is the same money that the Prime Minister announced in the previous month.
In 2004 the Liberal government passed Bill C-9, the Jean Chrétien pledge to Africa which improved access to expensive drugs for the world's least developed countries in the fight against HIV-AIDS, malaria and other epidemics.
This budget talks about $175 million to accelerate implementation of a Canada first defence plan and $10 million to establish new operational stress injury clinics. The reality is that the government's Canada first defence plan is at odds with the priorities of the armed forces. Much of the equipment will not even be located or maintained in Canada, effectively selling out Canadian sovereignty, of course, and more important, depriving our aerospace industry of significant economic benefits.
In 2005 the Liberal government created a new veterans charter that provided for the most sweeping changes to veterans services and benefits since the end of the second world war. During the 2005 federal election, the Conservatives promised to veterans that they would immediately extend the veterans independence program and services to all second world war and Korean veterans, and of course resolve the agent orange issue.
The government made a promise of $80 million to make CSIS operations more effective. What does this really mean? On a review of the budget, the reality is there is not a real commitment as to how the money will be spent.
There has been no commitment in the budget to hire, for example, more police officers. The government talks about law and order, but it does not walk the talk. It is this party that talked about hiring and will hire 2,500 new officers across the country and provide that assistance. In budget 2007 the government commits no new money for additional police officers. Again, the Conservatives like to talk about crime, but they do not walk the talk.
The Conservatives talk about the previous Liberal government, that the Liberal government did this and that. The reality is the facts certainly show something different. On foreign policy it seems that anything we did they think is bad. They come in and change direction, but they have no substantive policy to assist in innovation, in dealing with international trade, et cetera.
There are two examples on China which are unbelievable. At the beginning of the mandate of the Conservative government, in February when the Conservatives announced the new cabinet, they said there were a thousand Chinese spies in Canada. They could not back that one up. Then the Prime Minister said he was going to talk tough on human rights. He had a 15 minute bathroom break with Hu Jintao, the Chinese president, in Hanoi in November last year. Assuming that eight minutes were used for translation, he had seven minutes in which he could talk about human rights, trade issues and a whole list of things which he is so proud of. Again the Chinese were not impressed.
Clearly this party when in government had a consistent policy of engagement with China. This party has been working, not only on the trade issue, but on tough talk, working with the Chinese and improving the judiciary, improving human rights in the area. One of the most galling things has got to be the short-sightedness of the government in closing four consulates: in Milan, in St. Petersburg, in Fukuoka, and Osaka. Let us take a look at that.
When we look at the Kansai region of Osaka, it has 25 million people, a GDP greater than all of Canada, and the government says, “No, no, it is okay to business. You can do business in the Kansai region. We are going to hand out”--and this is from the minister--“handbooks”. Handbooks do not cut it.
The second largest economy in the world is Japan. It has an economy greater than all of Asia combined, including China, and the Conservatives' answer to Canadian business, Canadian investors, in one of the most important markets outside of the United States is to say “We will close down the consulate and we will hand out handbooks”. This really is not too impressive. Who is not impressed by this? Let us take a look.
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce said that the consulates also serve as a focal point for the collection and dissemination of information for Japanese and Canadian companies, organizations and individuals. Anyone who knows Asia knows that the issue is friendship first, business second. We have to be on the ground. We have to have those contacts. They do not have those contacts because now they will be giving out handbooks.
The Conservative government is swimming in money, thanks to the good economic management of previous Liberal governments which eliminated the deficit. Remember that when we came to power in 1993, that side of the House had left us a $42.5 billion deficit. The Conservatives seem to forget that. Unfortunately, or fortunately for them, we left them with more money than they know what to do with. Of course now they are spending it here, there and everywhere, but there is no focus. They have all this money, but they have to close four consulates. That seems to me to be just unbelievable.
The comment of the Canada-Japan Society is that even prior to the announced closing of the consulates in Osaka and Fukuoka, Canadian interests were underrepresented in Japan relative to Japan's importance to Canada as a market for our goods, a source of tourists and students and a major source of investment in the Canadian resource and automotive sectors. They are people who know the Japanese market. They wrote the Prime Minister at the end of January and there was silence from that side of the House.
There is no question that when it comes to the area of foreign affairs, when it comes to the kinds of investments for Canadian business to be competitive, to be a player, the Conservatives have been silent and they have cut back.
There is no question that the former Japanese ambassador was very concerned about this approach. Japanese colleagues in Tokyo were absolutely astounded that we would take such an approach in terms of dealing with this. The government thinks it can deal with it out of Tokyo. It thinks it can deal with it out of Rome.
The government does not understand foreign policy. It is demonstrated in the budget the government presented last week.
November 15th, 2005 / 2:55 p.m.
Jacques Saada Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec and Minister responsible for the Francophonie
Mr. Speaker, I can hardly wait for André Harvey to return to this House and behave like a real MP.
The members of the Bloc voted against a $307 million increase in the budget and against Bill C-9. We have helped the textile industry with CANtex, but they did not agree. They were absent. We helped the regions of Quebec in need, despite the Bloc. I travel throughout Quebec, and the Bloc comes along behind me. I repeat this is total hypocrisy.
November 14th, 2005 / 12:20 p.m.
Claude Drouin Beauce, QC
I would remind the Bloc member that it was not $46 billion in the case of Oxygène 9. We will never know the figure, because the sovereignists lacked the nerve to investigate. They lacked the courage. Here, however, we did not lack the courage to acknowledge malfeasance and to have the guilty pay the price. We have sent this message here since the outset and will continue to do so.
Instead of being a responsible and transparent government, they had the minister Gilles Baril resign and promoted him to the position of vice-president of Hydro-Québec in Chile. They never investigated and never found out who was guilty. And the Bloc members are trying to teach us a lesson, we who established the Gomery commission and called in the RCMP to uncover the guilty parties.
Criminal charges were laid against four individuals, and 32 civil cases were initiated against individuals or companies for a total of $57 million. In so doing, we have demonstrated our desire to take action to ensure that such major problems never recur. That was the action of a responsible government. We have recreated the position of Comptroller General of Canada as well as comptroller positions for each department, in order to ensure that any program put in place will comply with Treasury Board standards and regulations.
My reading of these tactics is that the Bloc does not know what to do with a government that respects its commitments. This shows how important it is for the government to do exactly that. I will list but a few of our commitments, as time is unfortunately limited.
A few weeks after the election, a health agreement was signed for a total of $41.5 billion, $9.6 billion of that to go to Quebec over 10 years. Health is the ultimate priority of Quebeckers and Canadians. That was the action of a responsible government. We noted a major problem relating to equalization, and wanted to ensure its stability, so that the provincial governments will not be caught unawares because of an adjustment to the highly complex equalization program rules. What was the outcome of that? Within just weeks of the signing of the health agreement, an equalization agreement was concluded for $33 billion over ten years.
I would remind my colleagues in the Bloc Québécois that, this year, the agreement will see $4.8 billion going to Quebec in equalization payments. Next year, the amount will exceed $5.3 billion, or an increase of over $500 million in direct payments to Quebec. This is proof of how the Government of Canada respects its commitments.
We talked about parental leave. We have made an investment of $750 million per year to enable the province of Quebec to make its own decisions concerning parental leave and to enable families to have children, which is essential for our country. Subsequently, we have seen that Quebec is a leader in early learning and child care programs and we wanted to establish a national program. Therefore, an agreement of over $1 billion over five years was concluded. That enables Quebec, as a leader in this area, to share its know-how and expertise with the other provinces and territories, while respecting the fields of jurisdiction.
Too often we hear our colleagues from the Bloc Québécois say that the government does not respect provincial jurisdictions. The Charest government mentioned a while ago that it had concluded 150 agreements with the federal government. This is proof of mutual respect. And the interim leader of the Parti Québécois added: “One hundred and fifty agreements! The Parti Québécois has concluded 400 agreements with the Government of Canada.” This shows things are working out in this country. We are able to get along. However, when we are dealing with the Bloc Québécois, no agreement is possible.
It is too bad that I only have one minute left, because I could have continued for hours and hours to show just how much the Government of Canada has the interests of Quebeckers and all Canadians at heart.
In conclusion, I will talk about Bill C-9. Over $300 million will be given to the regions of Quebec, which constitutes concrete action. Going back to the main point of the debate, I would like to quote the Bloc leader:
On a sharply critical note, [the leader of the Bloc Québécois] said that in a society, attitudes fraught with hypocrisy and innuendo are not to be tolerated. If there is evidence, let it be known, do not let the rumour mill run. Rigour is required at all times; otherwise, we end up with statements starting with “Someone told me they have heard”. That is hearsay, gossip, and it is not right, be it directed at politicians or anyone else. There is nothing more harmful than rumour because it is not factual.
When the Bloc leader made this statement in Le Soleil , to whom do you think he was referring? He was referring to the separatists, who attack each other personally. This is reflected here when unaddressed householders contain personal attacks. Bloc members quote liberally from the Gomery report, saying it contains real and concrete facts, and yet, they do not say a word about the government. This is unacceptable and I hope they will apologize and demonstrate sound management and good behaviour in the House.
October 17th, 2005 / 2:45 p.m.
Jacques Saada Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec and Minister responsible for the Francophonie
Mr. Speaker, I would invite the hon. member to have another look at our press releases. Today's announcement has nothing to do with softwood lumber. It is specifically intended as a response to Quebec's request for assistance in connection with the reduction in wood supply legislated by Quebec's Bill 71.
I think it is interesting that the Bloc Québécois is questioning this after voting against Bill C-9 and a budget increase.
October 7th, 2005 / noon
Lucienne Robillard President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs
Mr. Speaker, it is quite surprising to have a Bloc Québécois member who voted against Bill C-9, which gave complete autonomy to the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, now ask my colleague to intervene in a situation taking place in a specific region.
I can assure the Bloc Québécois and all hon. members that, anytime a problem arises in one of the regions of Quebec, Economic Development Canada and my colleague are there to assess the situation and implement solutions with the local community.
Extension of Sitting Period
June 23rd, 2005 / 5:05 p.m.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Marcel Proulx)
Order, please. I have the honour to inform the House that a communication has been received as follows:
June 23, 2005
I have the honour to inform you that the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, Governor General of Canada, signified royal assent by written declaration to the bills listed in the Schedule to this letter on the 23rd day of June, 2005, at 4:10 p.m.
Deputy Secretary, Policy, Program and Protocol
The schedule indicates the bills assented to were Bill C-9, an act to establish the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec—Chapter 26; Bill C-56, an act to give effect to the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement and the Labrador Inuit Tax Treatment Agreement—Chapter 27; Bill C-58, an act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the federal public administration for the financial year ending March 31, 2006—Chapter 28; and Bill C-3, an act to amend the Canada Shipping Act, the Canada Shipping Act, 2001, the Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act and the Oceans Act —Chapter 29.